Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. - Punxsutawney Phil, the American groundhog famous for his weather predictions, saw his shadow after emerging from his burrow atop Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania on Monday, forecasting six more weeks of winter.
Phil's prediction came at about 7:25 a.m. local time in the Western Pennsylvania borough of Punxsutawney, the self-proclaimed weather capital of the world, where some in the group chanted "six more weeks, six more weeks" as they waited for the groundhog.
Legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow, North America will experience six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, cold weather is on its way out.
"Six more weeks of winter means more potential for snow days so I am not exactly heartbroken," said Robin Amador, 39, an educator from Lorain, Ohio. "I could kiss that little guy for that."
The history of groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, as weather prognosticators in the United States dates back to the 1800s, when some of the earliest celebrations were recorded in Pennsylvania, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's website.
Celebrations of the holiday take place throughout the United States but thanks in part to "Groundhog Day," the 1993 film starring Bill Murray and set in Punxsutawney, the borough is the epicenter of celebration.
Each year on Feb. 2, the borough of about 6,000 people swells to as many as 30,000 revelers, who come decked out in groundhog hats and scarves and holding signs begging for winter's hasty exit.
Hank Zaborniak, 29, used the occasion on Monday to propose to his girlfriend, Jaquelynn Kestner, 31. The Ohio couple described themselves as big Murray fans.
"He said he wouldn't mind spending the rest of his life with me or the same day over and over," Kestner said.